Friday, February 17, 2006

The Platinum Rule (II)

First part of this series here.

You can buy The Platinum Rule book or the test from the book online. The test takes about five minutes -- quick, easy, and painless -- which will place you into one of sixteen business personalities. Even if you generally can't stand this kind of pigeonholing (like me), it has turned out to be a fairly accurate assessor for myself and my employees (anywhere between 70-95% accurate).

There are four types of workers:

Directors -- confident, competitive, and decisive types who like being in charge
Socializers -- outgoing, enthusiastic, and talkative types who like attention
Relaters -- personable, easygoing, and low-key types who like stability
Thinkers -- cautious, analytical, and detail types who like things to make sense

Within each of the four types are four subtypes, hence the sixteen work personalities:


Directing Directors -- "Commanders"
Socializing Directors -- "Adventurers"
Relating Directors -- "Producers"
Thinking Directors -- "Pioneers"


Directing Socializers -- "Enthusiasts"
Socializing Socializers -- "Entertainers"
Relating Socializers -- "Helpers"
Thinking Socializers -- "Impressers"


Directing Relaters -- "Go-Getters"
Socializing Relaters -- "Harmonizers"
Relating Relaters -- "Servicers"
Thinking Relaters -- "Specialists"


Directing Thinkers -- "Masterminds"
Socializing Thinkers -- "Assessors"
Relating Thinkers -- "Administrators"
Thinking Thinkers -- "Analysts"

I test as a Directing Thinker, and the profile is pretty accurate, about 85% right, though I dislike the "mastermind" title (sounds pretentious). My profile (The Platinum Rule, pp 101-103) tells me, among other things, that I

-- am a creator rather than follower
-- seek independence from constraints that might limit my performance
-- like to be in control, but more over procedures than people
-- can never get too much of quality, discovery, or originality
-- take some calculated risks when making decisions
-- prefer to work alone, or at least with people of my choosing
-- am focused on the future
-- become overly analytical, and possibly procrastinating, under pressure

As for ways to improve myself, I apparently should "work at being less guarded and more direct in communicating with others", "give myself more credit and less grief", and "monitor my tendency to be critical of myself and others, especially under pressure" (ibid).

The types who mix well in a social environment aren't necessarily compatible in the work environment (see pp 115-122). For instance (using myself again as an example), thinkers tend to get along best socially with other thinkers, next best with relaters, and least easily with directors and socializers. But task wise, thinkers work best with relaters, next best with thinkers and socializers, and least easily with directors. It becomes even more important (and challenging) to put the Platinum Rule into practice the more you deal closely with "incompatible" personality types.

How to put the Platinum Rule into practice? The authors suggest applying it to directors by doing things like: "using facts rather than feelings when you disagree with them", "getting to the point quickly", and "stressing competitive results and growth opportunities" (p 144). Apply it to socializers by: "being upbeat and stimulating", "tolerating digressions when possible", and "sparing them the details" (p 149). To relaters by: "using personal feelings more than facts when you disagree", "assuming they will take things personally", and "giving assurances that risk will be minimized or handled reasonably" (p 145). To thinkers by: "being accurate and logical", "providing solid and tangible evidence", "supporting their thoughtful approaches when possible" (p 150).

The authors strongly believe that the Platinum Rule isn't about manipulation, just learning to speak the language of others:

"It isn't considered manipulative to speak French when in Paris... It's something you do briefly while on the Frenchman's soil so you can be more compatible. You don't alter your basic nature while in France. Your ideas don't change. But how you present those ideas does change." (p 10)

Yes and no. I would say the Platinum Rule is manipulative but healthy. Furthermore, many people practice the Platinum Rule without realizing it (just as many others, unfortunately, practice the Golden Rule without realizing it). In one of my favorite books, Why We Lie, David Livingstone Smith suggests that human beings are a species of unconscious psychologists, carefully monitoring others' behavior, constantly manipulating others through lies, deceptions, and veiled meanings. And we often lie to people by telling them what they want to hear, deceive them by stroking their egos, and (indeed) manipulate them by treating them how they want to be treated. That's the Platinum Rule. It's manipulation, but if applied in moderation, a healthy form of it.

In the third and final post to this series, we'll do some loose speculating on what the historical Jesus would have thought about the Platinum Rule.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taking the test may indeed be "quick, easy, and painless", but having to shell out $50 for the results is very painful - and outrageous. That comes out to $2.78 per question. Perhaps someone should inform Mr. Allesandro that most people do not want to be robbed blind.


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